Sisi says Nile water issue a matter of life and death for Egypt, wants Sudan removed from terror list

Ahram Online , Tuesday 24 Sep 2019

El-Sisi gave a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 AP

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Tuesday that the Nile water is a matter of life and death for Egypt and urged the international community to convince all parties to be flexible and resume negotiations.

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, El-Sisi said that although Egypt understands Ethiopia's situation regarding the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Ethiopia did not conduct sufficient studies concerning this massive project.

"We signed the Declaration of Principles in 2015 which launched the four-year-long negotiations to reach an agreement regarding the process of filling and operating the dam," El-Sisi said.

"Unfortunately, the negotiations have not reached the desired results," the president said, adding that Egypt still has hopes for reaching an agreement that guarantees the interests of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

Last week, negotiations between the three countries on the regulations for filling and operating the GERD continued in Cairo after a year-long stalemate.

Egypt proposed that Ethiopia should fill the dam reservoir over a period of seven years, and wanted it to release 40 billion cubic meters of water every year. However, Ethiopia rejected Egypt’s proposal, claiming that it was “inappropriate” and infringes on Ethiopia's sovereignty.

El-Sisi said the repeated stalemates in negotiations will have negative repercussions on the stability and development in the region in general and in Egypt in particular.

Successful reforms

El-Sisi stressed the necessity of ensuring that every nation can come up with solutions to its own problems, and that Egypt has been successful in this regard with its war against terrorism and its economic reforms, which are considered the most ambitious Egypt's modern history.

"The Egyptian people deserve the credit for bearing the burden of this plan and executing its first phase with unexpected success," he said.

Removal of Sudan from US terror list

President El-Sisi also called for Sudan be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terror after the recent change in the country's political situation.

The president also said that Egypt has an inclusive plan to help African countries with reconstruction and development, especially those suffering from long-term conflicts.

El-Sisi has been in New York since Saturday to hold meetings ahead of the General Assembly, which began on Tuesday.

Palestinian issue needs international resolutions

The president also said that the Palestinian issue needs an urgent solution based on international resolutions because the continued existence of this dilemma means a long-term drain on the Middle East region. 

Yemen, Libya crises need decisive stand

The president stressed that now is the time for a decisive stand to put an end to the conflict in Yemen by implementing political solutions, ending interference from non-Arab regional parties that seek to undermine Arab national security, and countering the unprecedented threats facing the Arab Gulf region, "whether the threats of navigation or the attacks against petroleum institutions in Saudi Arabia."

"The same thing must be applied in Libya," El-Sisi said.

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